jesse_jackson.jpgCHICAGO (AP) _ The Rev. Jesse Jackson says he's made contact with religious leaders inside Iran and wants to take a group of multi-faith leaders to the country to plea for a detained U.S. journalist's release.

Jackson says he applied for a visa to Iran last week and will continue applying until his request is granted. He says he wants to make a moral and humanitarian plea for the release of 31-year-old Roxana Saberi.

The dual American-Iranian citizen was convicted more than a week ago and sentenced to eight years in prison after a one-day trial behind closed doors. She is on a hunger strike.

The Chicago-based civil rights leader says Saberi interviewed him 10 years ago while she was a student at Northwestern University in Evanston.

Pictured above is the Rev. Jesse Jackson.